Indonesia declares two villages anthrax red zones after cattle deaths

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JAKARTA, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Indonesian authorities have declared two villages on Java island red zones and banned livestock movement from the area after the deaths of several farm animals from anthrax, an official said on Friday.

Seven cattle and a goat have so far tested positive for anthrax among 15 farm animals that have died in recent days, said Kelik Yuniantoro of the agriculture office in the Gunung Kidul region of central Java.

Authorities were awaiting more test results and there were 23 people with skin infections, likely from handling or consuming infected animals, Kelik said.

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"Areas where the dead animals were from are now red zones. All livestock from those regions are not allowed to leave for now," Kelik told Reuters, adding authorities had disinfected farms and livestock were given antibiotics and vitamins.

"Animal markets were also disinfected and veterinary inspections are being tightened up," Kelik said, adding that authorities would monitor the community's health situation for four months.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anthrax is a bacteria found naturally in soil and commonly affects animals that breathe in or ingest spores in contaminated soil, plants, or water.

Anthrax is not contagious and humans can only get infected by ingesting the bacteria. It can be prevented in animals via regular vaccination.

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Reporting by Bernadette Christina Munthe Writing by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Martin Petty

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